Sunday, 11 May 2014

Day 11 - Ride the Rio

So today, a new group with a different friend of Las Piedras,  now known as the "yoga people", will arrive at site. We’ve been told by one of the guys that’s helping organise their stay that we basically have to disappear. They are coming for a tranquil zen stay, so having a bunch of unsocialised scientists isn't cool. We’ve been moved to a small campsite (that the workers built just this week) not too far from the lodge. We had to be packed and out of our rooms by mid morning so that there was plenty of time to sort the place out before their arrival.  We were told “You guys can’t be here when they arrive”. So basically, fuck off and be invisible. I told him that my invisibility coat was still in the post, but I'll do my best. It hasn’t been so helpful that we’ve been given wrong/differing information from different people - again, the difficulties with communications in the jungle showing it's face again. We were packed to leave yesterday, then told we could have an extra night in the room as they weren’t arriving til mid morning. We didn't complain, as this was great - we had one last sleep in a room, but a little annoying as everything was now already packed, it was just prolonging the situation. We all enjoyed the last of the freedom we had around the lodge; making the most of tables, a roof, easy access to toilet/showers, the kitchen for tea, and a socialising area with comfy seats/hammocks that we all become so familiar with. 

The new campsite, "Platforms" pic by Marcus Rhodes

Inside the campsite, pic my Marcus Rhodes

To get away from the hustle, bustle and stress from the whole thing, me, Zoe, Tom and Harry went with one of the workers, Melo, to deliver a message for someone at Arcc. Arcc is another field site, which is about a three and a half hour boat ride up river. A few tourists made the journey a few days ago and were lucky enough to see a Jaguar on a beach on the river bank, so we were keen to go check it out and see if luck was on our side....

Looking fabulous in the Amazon
Fresh brazil nut
Digging in to the delicious brazil nut


Julia butterfly that drinks salt from sweat, also decided to poo on me. Lovely. 
Tom the Explorer
We fell at the first hurdle; the boat we were travelling in had a motor that sounded like a fucking chainsaw (a different boat to the one that the other tourists used the other day). It was SO loud, so unless there was a deaf big cat out there that had no idea we were coming, we weren’t likely to see one. And we didn’t. We did however see some tracks, which were most likely a big cat. We couldn’t see the tracks well enough so couldn’t make out what kind of mammal it was but it looked like it could have been a puma/jaguar track – and they were so fresh, seems like this cat was unfortunately, not deaf. What we did see what some turtles, lots of birds and a Caiman though!

An Amazonian beauty - butterflies drinking turtles tears

Once we got to arc, our butts hurt and the sun had gotten to us – today was particularly hot and being on a boat with no cover didn’t help. We were told we had half an hour to chill at Arcc and then we were off again. We had just enough time to see the lake at Arc and the accommodation there, which was fancy!

Lake at Arcc

We made it back to the port at 3pm, but Melo, who was driving, didn’t actually come back ‘til 4pm. Not knowing where he was meant we hung around near the boat waiting for him, where there were hungry sand flies and mosquitoes, so we all got bitten to shit. Sandflies are quickly becoming my #2 enemy after Mozzies. But, in return, we were travelling back through dusk, and it was so beautiful. It felt like the stress and frustration that’s been consuming us the last couple of days just disappeared along with the sunset. I’ve never seen so many colours in one sunset, purples, pinks, blues, yellows, oranges, and red. It was incredible. The sheer beauty of the rainforest never ceases to amaze me, it just reinforces the idea that we need to protect and preserve this incredible place. 



When we got back it was dark, and we still had to put sheets on our beds and hang up our mosquito nets at the new campsite. This was harder than it felt it should be, but in the middle of the dark jungle, bugs everywhere, flying into your face thanks to the head light, ants and other bugs all over the bed, and trying to hang nets on sticks that were definitely not designed around mosquito nets - it was a challenge, I'll give ya that. It turns out that the yoga group didn't actually arrive in the morning, but they passed our campsite at around 8pm "glad we're not staying there", we giggled as we overheard one of them. "This'll be a fun few days" said a scientist! 

It'll be interesting to see how we all sleep tonight... Let's hope no bullet ants fit through the gaps of the bed. Eeek.